DMHA (also known as dimethylhexylamine, octodrine, and other names) is a stimulant developed in the 1950s for use as an inhalant to treat bronchitis, laryngitis, and other conditions. It was never approved for oral use, but in recent years it has shown up as an ingredient in dietary supplements. It is used most often in supplements marketed as thermogenics (fat burners) and pre-workouts because of its supposed benefits as an appetite suppressant and energy enhancer. It’s also been claimed to enhance focus, memory, and attention; increase pain threshold; and decrease rates of perceived exertion.
However, there hasn’t been enough research on DMHA to determine if it’s safe or effective, and some animal studies suggest it might have adverse cardiovascular (related to the heart and/or blood vessels) effects. In addition, the same concerns associated with other stimulants apply to DMHA.
According to FDA, DMHA (octodrine) is a new dietary ingredient lacking evidence for safe use, and therefore “…dietary supplements containing DMHA would be adulterated for containing an unsafe food additive.” This means that DMHA should not be used as an ingredient in dietary supplements. Because of this, DMHA is on the OPSS list of DoD-prohibited ingredients.
DMHA might register on an initial urine screening test for amphetamines or opioids. If this happens, then the specimen goes to confirmation analysis. DMHA will not cause a positive result on the confirmation drug tests.
DMHA is still present as an ingredient in some dietary supplements, so be sure to look carefully at the Supplement Facts label of any product you’re considering. DMHA goes by many other names, including:
- 2-heptylamine, 6-methyl-
- 2-isooctyl amine
Some marketing claims have represented DMHA as a “natural” extract of aconite, Aconitum kusnezoffii, Juglans regia, or Kigelia Africana. However, if a plant-based ingredient on a label includes a statement that it provides DMHA, it has not been approved for use in dietary supplements.
For more information, please see FDA’s “DMHA in Dietary Supplements.”
Updated 22 October 2020